Tuesday, September 12, 2006

MONKEY BUSINESS

Consider this a follow-up to a recent News-Leader story about a woman and her monkey.

Published in late August, the story featured Debby Rose, a Springfield woman who "rescues and cares" for wild animals. Including Richard, a bonnet macaque. From the story:
Her near-constant companion for two years, Richard accompanies Debby to work, shops and even restaurants.

Aware that there might be questions about Richard's outings, she met with Springfield-Greene County Health Department officials.

They have received calls, says Jim Fry, coordinator of environmental health services for the department. The state does not require certification for service animals, he explains, and the Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes numerous animals help those with mental and physical disabilities.

"If she says it's a service animal, you have to allow it in or run the risk of violating the ADA regulations," he says.
Well, she said it was a service animal. But now the health department apparently disagrees.

In a memo sent to restaurants after the News-Leader story was published, Ron Lawson of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department wrote:
Due to numerous complaints and recent discussions of the definition of service animals with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, this Department has made the decision not to allow Ms. Debby Rose to enter a Food Establishment with her monkey. According to the U.S. Department of Justice definition of service animals, such an animal must be able to perform a specific task for people with disabilities. It has become apparent that this monkey does not qualify as a service animal.

Please be advised that should Ms. Rose be allowed to enter your Food Establishment with her monkey, you will be in violation of the 1999 Missouri Food Code Section 6-501.115 which is a critical violation.
Restaurants in Springfield have been put on notice -- don't let the monkey darken your doorstep. If Rose doesn't comply, restaurant owners are supposed to call the health department, or the police if it's after 5 p.m.

42 comments:

Fat Jack said...

Real service animals are trained by service animal agencies. They are certified animals and wear a harness. If they aren't trained by a certified agency and don't wear a specialize harness, designating the animal as a service animal for persons with disabilities, then it is a pet. Period.

You can't just say it's a service animal. You can't just claim a disability and haul your cat everywhere. You can't say you need a companion animal and take your pet. You have to have a qualifying disability, documented, and apply for an offical service animal.


Dogs, monkeys miniature horses, all kinds of animals are used as real service animals.

There are specialized dogs who can sense seizures. They are specialially trained to detect a seizure. They alert the owner, the owner will lay down (or pull the car over or whatever) when the seizure is over the dog lets that owner up. I've met a woman who had a seizure dog. It made a huge impact on her life.

Service animals can easily cost many thousands of dollars, we talking the price of a new mini-van.

The Health Dept is wrong in its assessment that a person just claim a service animal and there you go. However, if you have a real service animal and you show it's paperwork (it will have a harness on) and the restaurant or mall or hospital or hotel denies, then they are in deep shit.

During Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts, there were folks who were blind that were being rescued that were not allowed to take their service animal on the hellicopter with them. Imagine being in the Superdome, blind and without your certified service dog.

MrsThurstonHowell said...

Gee...I guess if Richard is of age they could always do happy hour double banana daquiris at Archie's.

Anonymous said...

"The law's the law", some say... and they'd be right. But there's also "much ado about nothing"... or pretty much nothing.

Bothering our cops over... this... might make someone feel like the've accomplished something, but it's no takedown of a meth lab.

Anonymous said...

So, anon 11:23, you're comfortable eating from a salad bar picked over by a monkey? Comfortable sitting in a booth next to the monkey?

Anonymous said...

What will be next? Patrons bringing canaries into an eatery to detect carbon monoxide? Iguanas to test the foliage on the salad bar? Our restaurants will be turned into virtual zoos. Where will it all end? I fear this could be the end of civilization as we know it.

Anonymous said...

The woman claims "anxiety" as her disability, her need to have the monkey by her side. While some find it "cute" (and anon 11:23 thinks it's "much ado about nothing"), others feel dining with a monkey is gross. The last straw for this monkey apparently came when the "service animal" was going through a buffet line - with a plate. I don't know about the monkey's owner, but that makes me anxious.

Anonymous said...

Monkeys make me laugh!

John Stone said...

Nobody is going to grab my monkey and get away with it !!!!

Anonymous said...

Everybody's got something to hide.

Except for me and my monkey.

notafinga said...

Missouri Food Code Section 6-501.115
reads as follows "no monkeys"

Who knew they had such a problem with rampant monkeys in Missouri.

Peter Sellars said...

Re: Fat Jack's "the Health Dept is wrong..." He should instead write 'WAS wrong..." as the Health Department has moved to correct the situation after investigating ths situation.
Does your meenkie bite?

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why the Health Department's gone so apeshit over this. Having observed the personal hygiene habits and general behavior of crew members at several of the McDonald's in town, I'm left to think that the public would be much safer and better served by an all-simian staff. At least when monkeys fling their poo, you can generally see it coming...

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to shake this monkey off my back...

Anonymous said...

To Annon 1141: Would you like YOUR child sitting in the high chair just vacated by Dick the monkey? Also, a year ago or so, a female research scientist in the Atlanta area died from an infection after a monkey flinged its poo into her eye. Apeshit indeed..

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:59:

Anon 11:41 here. Please relax and have a banana. Of course I wouldn't want my child, your child or anyone else's child to sit in a chair recently vacated by Dick the monkey, Dick the Vice President, Dick Van Patten, Dick Armey, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Nixon, Dick Trickle (gotta love that name) or any other filthy, dirty Dick.

To further allay your concerns, please know that I am a friend and supporter of the people and the mission of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, particularly in their role as watchdogs over local eating establishments, and that I'm not seriously advocating the monkeyfication of the McDonald's workforce. That was all just a silly joke, kind of like my use of the colloquialism "apeshit" as something of an attempted pun.

When it comes to keeping our local eating establishments free of monkeys, I am a firm believer in the Leave No Monkey Behind (In the Restaurants) doctrine. Monkeys have their place in society: in jungles, zoos, torturous animal research facilities owned by the cosmetics industry, the Halls of Congress, Peter Gabriel videos, the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, old movies starring Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter and Charlton Heston, and 1960s television series starring Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones.

They sure don't belong on salad bars, sushi bars, or even on monkey bars (don't let the name fool ya...it's PLAYGROUND equipment for young humans!)

So, I'm with you on all of that, and while I'm on a roll, I'd like to make it clear I'm against the terrorists, too. Especially the Republicans.

God Bless Our Monkey-Free America!

Anonymous said...

I'm really beginning to like Chatter more and more.

Anonymous said...

Monkeys have their place in society: in ... old movies starring Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter and Charlton Heston ...

Damned dirty apes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:59 to Anon 11:41:
Thank you for making me enjoy this thread even more than before. I envy your sense of humor. Let's hear it for more monkey business in our communications....

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:41 to Anon 11:59:
You are welcome, and thank you for your generous comments. I feel somewhat remiss that I failed to include a number of other prominent Dicks in my previous post: Dick Durbin (United States Senator from Illinois), Dick Lugar (United States Senator from Indiana--see, Washington is just chock FULL of Dicks!), our own retired Rep. Dick Gephardt, baseball slugger Richie "Call Me Dick" Allen, cartoonland's Dick Dastardly, and the mythical Dick Gozinya (say it slowly), whose name is invoked by countless prank phone-callers of high school and college age.

There you go. I'm done Dicking around now.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of monkeys not being welcomed places, seems Air America is biting the big one and will file for bankruptcy on Friday.

There's no last paychecks for those laid off, even the always charming Jerry Springer. For Jerry, I would imagine it's back to interviewing conjoined sisters living in a trailer park with issues of sexuality. One's a lesbian; the other straight and they are literally torn over the gay marriage issue.

His shows were always fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Dick Clark hosted the Monkees once on "American Bandstand."

Coincidence? I think not...

Anonymous said...

"I'll take Famous Dicks for $100, Alex."

Say that on Jeopardy, and it gets you the next answer.

Say that on the streets of San Francisco, and they'll laugh at you for being cheap.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Jack, but not right. If businesses follow your guidelines, they can be in for a world of trouble.

See this website for more information: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/animal.htm

One quote is: "The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government." They also aren't required to wear a harness or other identification.

I have a friend who trains her own "hearing ear" dogs, and I've found it interesting how the roles of animals have changed in the last few decades.

Fat Jack said...

Anon:

A well trained service animal knows the difference between working and off work by the harness. That is a part of the quality training. Quality being the issue there.

I've known many a person who've had service animals. One worked for me for a time. I can assure you that a harness is the proper attire.

The term "individually" in the ADA is not referring to the trainer. It referrs to the animal being specifically or individually trained for the person with a disability.

Any quack can claim to train service animals. They can claim to be trained and fool many buisness into believing they must comply.

Let's prove my point. Just go to any state university, enroll as a student and apply for disability services. Tell them you want to use your pet poddle as a service animal. Claim it's been trained by your Aunt Bessie. See if you get have Spot in the class room. You won't. The dog's not a certified service animal.

Want more info? A highly trained dog knows it's working by it's harness. It won't bark at other dogs. It does it's job. Period. It poops on a schedule. It eats on a schedule. You don't just go up and pet a service animal when it's working. Rude.

When the harness is off, the dog knows it's not working and it will act like a typical dog again: jumping, sniffing, etc. These are the qualities of a highly trained, highly skilled service animal. Does your friend's animals behave as such?

Anonymous said...

I was referring to your original posting, where you state:

**Real service animals are trained by service animal agencies.

**They ARE certified animals and wear a harness. [emphasis added]

**If they AREN'T trained by a certified agency and DON'T wear a specialize harness, designating the animal as a service animal for persons with disabilities, then it is a pet. Period. [once again, emphasis added]

Based on the US Department of Justice site, you're incorrect. There is nothing about requiring training by a service agency and it specifically states "Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses." So while a harness may be the normal attire, it is not required.

MSU's Service Animal Policy clearly states: "Proof of Training: The student/handler must be able to show that the animal has been trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. This information should be provided upon request for accommodations to the Disability Services office."

So yes, if you have a degenerative spinal disease and your poodle has been trained to pick up your keys and perform "tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability," then it's in. As long as you can document it. Even if it's trained by Aunt Bessie.

If you want to read the entire policy, it's online at:

http://www.missouristate.edu/disability/11038.htm

You state: "Want more info..." Yes, information is a wonderful thing, even better when it's accurate.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so this all starts out as "a follow up on a recent News Leader story about a woman and her monkey".
SO WHERE IS THE NEWS LEADER FOLLOW UP?
Every eating establishment in town has the letter. I've seen it posted next to the check out counter at 2 of the places I frequent. It's obvious that News Leader reporters read this blog and comments. Wouldn't it be of service to its readers if the N-L would tell the story of how this situation is progressing..to clear up for its readers questions about the ADA and service animals?
Come on Sony Hocklander. You had a good story to begin with. You asked the right questions of those involved, including health dept. officials. Your story initiated further investigation that found how the correct application of the law should should be applied.
Why not tell your readers?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what he/she(anon 10:29)said!

Anonymous said...

Spank the Monkey?

Anonymous said...

No, screw the monkey.

Anonymous said...

If we have a chimperor in the Oval Office how can we expect to keep simians out of restuarants.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:29 here: The News Leader IS following up. Hooray! Today's issue has the story. Seems like
Ms. Rose, officials with Health Dept., and Southwest Center for Independent Living are getting together to talk. IMHO, Dick the monkey should be treated like a cigarette. Smokin' a fag calms the user, but in most places now you have to wait until you are outta the building before lighting up. Keep the second hand monkey poo out of our eating establishments. Perhaps Ms. Rose can wait until
after eating to hug Dick.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the obvious: Rose needs a monkey for anxiety? They give out Xanax for that! No diaper necessary!

Anonymous said...

Remember this old saying:
A wise monkey never monkeys with another monkeys monkey!
Drust

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this Rose woman is in serious need of a therapist, not a lawyer. Does she really expect us to believe that the only effective remedy for her "anxiety disability" is to be within clutching distance of her monkey when she's in public? I'm sorry, but people that stupid are victims of their own ignorance, not of some disease or disorder.

What a barrel of monkey shit this is.

What's next? Take Your Monkey To Work Day?

Anonymous said...

Shock the monkey!

Anonymous said...

Meeting took place, but Dick still can't come into eating establishment. Sources say parties involved are waiting for a definitive ADA ruling, but even if it goes well for Ms. Rose, Dick the monkey will still not be allowed in. Public health concerns
dictate what will happen. Dick is not a guide dog, Dick is a monkey.
There are also concerns about the impact on the rest of the customers when seeing a friggin monkey brought in to a sit down dinner palce....

John Stone said...

Hummmm ... listening to Al Franken on Air America right now.

He says he got his usual Friday paycheck.

Another "Air America bites the Dust" story bites the dust.

But just to set the record straight I did send them a nasty note for firing Mike Malloy --- who, along with Randi Rhodes are the only people on the network with any real balls. And BTW, how much was Gannett's bankruptcy worth when they started out? Typical for a new company fighting a tough and expensive market like network broadcasting.

Let's all send Billy Long a dead flower for gloating prematurely.

ps: How come I got a "ho" at the end of my verification on a thread like this?

Anonymous said...

Hey Ron! Monkey Lady and Richard are making national news. Forbes has the poop. The story is about the flap of course, not the orginal News Leader story. YOU had it 3 days ago!

Suz said...

Emotional support service animals are a big trend in NYC and other places - see this NYTimes story from last May, posted at http://www.tbo.com/life/MGB4W8LEFNE.html

It underlines the fact that the Justice Dept. "guidelines" are basically arbitrary and potentially limitless as to when a business can be considered guilty of discrimination on the basis of disability when it refuses to allow a purported "service animal" into its premises. Not to mention landlords.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe I can't stand being in a restaurant with autistic people because they ruin my appetite. Think we should ban them from restaurants?

(and it was totally sarcastic, not meant to be taken seriously, and just said to prove a point)

Disability laws are meant to be overprotective of the disabled for a reason, and it's always better to err on the side of the disabled person.

Anxiety doesn't require any specific "actions" that pets can be trained for, so there's a huge gray area, but several studies back up the law even though many find it offensive to eat in a restaurant with these unique service animals.

This is evidenced in the statement at the end of today's article on the subject:

----------
Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman from the Justice Department in Washington, told the News-Leader that the law is somewhat vague regarding emotional support animals.

"The emotional support animal creates something a little fuzzy because it's not in the statute," she said.

But it's covered, she said, and becoming more frequently litigated.

"We have actually prosecuted cases where people have had emotional support animals," she said. "It's kind of a fine line, but the law errs on the side of protecting individuals that are disabled."

If someone asks if an animal provides a service for them, and they say yes, technically that's covered, she said.

"And they don't have to provide papers," she said. "That's not required by the ADA."
----------

I'm honestly not offended by the animals, provided they stay away from food prep areas or salad bars. But I've been way more bothered by kids or even some ill-mannered adults with poor hygiene habits than I have by the rare service animal or two.

Makes me wonder what's next though. Maybe a special section just for folks with service animals so the non-animal-accompanying patrons can eat without having a hissy-fit?

Anonymous said...

i think it's ridiculous that they aren't going to allow this woman to keep her monkey. stupid germaphobic americans worrying about everything, can people please stop being so paranoid? it's disgusting. let the poor woman keep her monkey we don't need another drug dependant running around.

Anonymous said...

maybe they can make sections in restaurants for people with ''service animals" just like they have for smokers. which i personally think is disgusting and unhealthy, i would rather sit at a table with richard the monkey than a smoker.